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Bangladesh ferry toll touches 139

March 16, 2012 02:40 IST

Naval divers on Thursday recovered 27 more bodies from the Meghna river, taking the toll in one of Bangladesh's worst ferry tragedy to 139, two days after the vessel with 300 people on-board collided with an oil tanker.

One of the 27 bodies was found inside the salvaged Shariatpur-1 vessel while the rest were floating around the accident scene. Three bodies were recovered by locals from Shatnal area of the river.

"Twenty seven more bodies were retrieved on Thursday as local administration, police and coast guard continued searches," despite official closure of the salvage campaign on Wednesday, Munshiganj's Deputy Commissioner M Azizul Alam told newsmen.

Rescuers said of the 139 bodies retrieved, nine were of minor children and 37 women.

Witnesses said despite the salvage of the vessel, relatives of missing people are still looking for more bodies.

Chief of a police station near the accident spot Shahidul Islam said five bodies are yet to be identified.

Most of the estimated 300 passengers were asleep when M V Shariatpur sank 70-feet deep in the river. It was coming to Dhaka's Sadarghat Terminal from Sureshwar.

Over 50 passengers swam to safety while others were rescued by two passing ferries and fishing boats nearby.

Anisur Rahman in Dhaka
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